On September 21, the Christian Church remembers St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. He was also known as Levi, son of Alphaeus. He was a tax collector, someone the Jews at the time would have regarded as a thief and a traitor. Matthew’s Gospel is written for Jewish readers, quoting the Old Testament and emphasizing Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy.
O Lord Jesus Christ,
in your great goodness
you called Matthew the tax collector
to be your apostle and evangelist.
Give us the power to withstand temptation,
turn from all the temptations of the world,
and follow you without delay;
through your mercy, O our God,
you are blessed,
and live and govern all things,
now and forever.
Source: Mozarabic, from The New Mozarabic Collects, #94
O almighty God, our heavenly Father,
renew in us the gifts of your mercy,
increase our faith, strengthen our hope,
enlighten our understanding,
enlarge our charity,
and make us ever ready to serve you,
both in body and soul;
through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
On September 14, some Christians observe Holy Cross Day. In the Roman Church the day’s focus is on the finding of the relics of the original cross. Among Lutherans the focus is on the words of Jesus, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Here is an extended collect and a blessing with the focus on cross bearing by Veit Dietrich, a student of Martin Luther.
Lord God, heavenly Father,
in your fatherly and infinite wisdom
you place your children on earth under the cross
and we endure many troubles.
Through these you guard us against sins
and lead us to believe, hope and pray.
Have mercy on us,
and hear our prayers in every affliction and need,
and send us your gracious help
so that we may know your grace and fatherly goodness,
and praise and glorify you with all your saints in eternity,
for you, with your Son and the Holy Spirit alone are the eternal God. Amen.
Source: Veit Dietrich, Summaria christlicher lehr, Epiphany 4, 1548. Prayers from the Evangelical Lutheran Heritage, #198.
May the almighty and gracious God,
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
forgive us all our sins,
help us to live in daily repentance,
and grant that whatever crosses he sends
serve to lead us to despise and avoid what is evil
and love and practice what is good,
until we depart this life and enter eternal life. Amen.
Source: Veit Dietrich / Franziskus Vierling, Votum (a reflective prayer or blessing) on Hebrews 12:1-17, from the Altenberger Bibel. Prayers from the Evangelical Lutheran Heritage, #199.
that you would be with your Church
to the end of the age,
and that the gates of hell
will never prevail
against the apostolic confession.
Make your strength perfect in our weakness,
and keep your divine promise
and be present with your weakest members.
Give each of us what we ask,
as it pleases you,
guard us from the attacks of all our enemies,
and assure us with your presence.
Source: Leonine Sacramentary, Bright’s Ancient Collects, p. 97.2, The New Ancient Collects, #322.
The New Ancient Collects is now available through Amazon for Kindle and in paperback.
For over 150 years, Bright’s Ancient Collects has been a standard resource for classic Christian prayers. The New Ancient Collects is a complete revision and refreshing of all the prayers in Bright’s Ancient Collects with updated language.
you are the well of life,
and in your light we shall see light.
When we thirst, give us living water
and enlighten our darkened minds with heavenly light;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O dearest Lord Jesus Christ,
you joined a happy couple
at the feast at the wedding of Cana,
and by simply saying, “Fill the jars with water,”
you blessed them with the very best wine.
You revealed your glory,
and your disciples put their faith in you.
Because of your promise
about where two or three gather in your name,
we know you have also joined us today
for the wedding of Renata and Eric.
We pray, in your grace and mercy,
bless them also with your very best.
Reveal your glory to them in Word, Sacrament,
and in the many blessings you give them all their lives.
Always bring them closer to you,
and closer to one another
in the bonds of your love.
Your heavenly Father
is the giver of every good and perfect gift,
and in your name we give him thanks
for the food we are about to receive;
for you live and reign
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and forever.